Following Jesus 128

Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.

There are those in our lives who dismiss this burden of sin that we experience. They may believe that we are mentally unstable and need to see a doctor or a psychiatrist. 

They may make fun of us, mock us or just plain ignore us. Neighbors may threaten us while others encourage us to be the person we used to be. Well-meaning friends and family may try to talk us out of our sense guilt and the heavy burden we feel. They may even tell us to take a pill. 

Yet, the burden continues to weigh the pilgrim down every deeper, even into the Swamp of Despondency. The word “despond” means hopelessness, sadness, misery, depression, unhappiness and gloom. It is discouragement.

What we must never forget is that there is hope for hopeless, gladness for the sad in heart, happiness for the miserable, happiness for the depressed and gloomy. How is this possible? 

For while our burden is sickening and overwhelming, it is also a removable burden. The cry of the sinner who becomes aware of this burden of sin is “What shall I do? What can I do? Is there any hope for me? There is but one hope for the sinner in such a condition. Psalm 38:17-22 gives us an answer. 

“For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me.” Vs. 17. David is ready to fall. To plunge into oblivion. His suffering and anguish is right in front of him. What must he do? What can he do? 

“I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.’ Vs. 18. David sees his sin as God sees it. He acknowledges it and asks forgiveness for it. He is truly sorry. 

However, the problems of sin do not immediately go away. “But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully.”  Vs. 19. The consequences of sinful choices may continue, but God will see us through them. 

“Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good.” Vs. 20. Like David, we may continue to be criticized even as we seek to follow after the Lord. 

“Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me!” Vs. 21. David’s prayer is that God would never forsake him. 

“Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!” Vs. 22. The Lord is David’s deliverer. He is ours as well. 

Why would God even consider forgiving us of our sin and relieving us of the weight we bear because of our sin? Because He is gracious and merciful

  • James 4:6 - But He gives a greater grace Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."
  • James 4:10 - Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.
  • James 5:10 - The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in loving kindness.
  • Psalms 116:5 - Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.
  • Isaiah 30:18 -  Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.

Salvation in Christ from the burden of sin’s penalty, power and eventual presence is the pilgrim’s only hope. 

What is the burden of sin and guilt that you carry? Is it the burden of not knowing your sins are forgiven in Jesus Christ? Is it a burden and guilt of sin you have committed as a follower of Jesus? Is it a burden you give to the Lord, only to immediately or eventually take back? 

The cry of the sinner who becomes aware of this burden of sin is “What shall I do? What can I do? Is there any hope for me? There is but one hope for the sinner in such a condition. Read the following Scriptures to discern the only hope for the sinner weighed down with his burden of sin. 

  • Acts 2:37-39. The cry of the Jews in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost to the Apostle Peter and the rest of the apostles. 
  • Acts 16:30-31. The cry of the Philippian Jailor to the Apostle Paul and Silas. 
  • Luke 18:9-14. The cry of the tax collector to God in heaven.
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